In 2007, the Grand Carrera collection caused a sensation by offering a contemporary high-end evolution of this legendary series, inspired by GT coupé cars and the brand’s unrivalled heritage in the automobile world. Supporting and illustrating this prestigious quest for performance, two new models are being presented this year: the TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 1 Vintage, a limited edition equipped with a mechanical hand-wound movement and celebrating the origins of this extraordinary adventure; and the Grand Carrera Calibre 17 RS2, a sophisticated concentrated blend of high technology that clearly heralds future developments within the range.
In order to provide an environment worthy of this bold match between past and future, TAG Heuer marks its launch by unveiling an exhibition area, the TAG Heuer 360 museum, an historical and avant-garde gallery dedicated to the glory of its exceptional heritage. Inaugurated in La Chaux-de-Fonds on January 30th 2008, during a ceremony attended by Lewis Hamilton and many other personalities, this location offers visitors a unique audiovisual experience. Distinguished both by its architectural concept and by its circular scenography, it exhibits 150 years of a watchmaking saga dedicated to mastering infinitely small times. Visitors will discover the technological and aesthetic innovations applied to sports timekeeping as well as to wristwatches, and which have represented major milestones in the history of Swiss watchmaking.
From the oscillating pinion (1886), the key component of the chronometer, to Calibre S (2005), the only electro-mechanical chronograph movement displaying hundredths of a second and equipped with a retrograde perpetual calendar; from the Time of Trip (1911), the first sports car dashboard chronograph, to the Grand Carrera (2007); from the Micrograph (1916) the first mechanical stopwatches accurate to within 1/100th of a second, to Calibre 360, the only mechanical wrist-worn chronograph measuring and displaying that same time degree of accuracy; from Calibre 11 (1969), the first automatic chronograph with a micro-rotor, to the Monaco V4 Concept watch (2004), the first driving-belt mechanism: the chronicles of TAG Heuer are filled with landmark records and technological feats, confirming that history is definitely still in the making. Embodied by such legendary heroes as Juan-Manuel Fangio, Steve McQueen or Ayrton Senna, by today’s Formula 1 racing champions Kimi Raïkkönen and Lewis Hamilton, as well as by golfer Tiger Woods,
The lines are pure, much like the gleaming bodywork of a collector’s car. The understated dial enjoys space in which to breathe. The hour-markers say it all in just a few words. On the back, the clearly visible engine fascinates observers. Simply round and absolutely black, it cuts to the chase to reveal sheer sporting elegance. Classic and yet contemporary, this tribute to symmetry and to discretion offers a purist’s alternative in an era when people are becoming tired of excessive ostentation. Why so many frills, when fundamentals are within easy reach?
This limited edition of 6000 houses a mechanism historically used for 1960s pocket-watches. The 43mm-diameter of the polished steel case provides space for the dial to express its ode to simplicity. The small seconds at 6 o’clock with its semi-circular graduation is the only esthetic liberty taken by this model, with the rhodium-plated hand indicating the seconds from 0 to 30 and the red hand those from 30 to 60. The “clous de Paris” hobnail motif, echoed on the movement and the rubber strap, evokes the grand watchmaking traditions and places the TAG Heuer CARRERA CALIBRE 1 VINTAGE firmly in line with the history of timepieces. The interchangeable black straps in alligator leather or black organic rubber represent the only possible interpretations of the TAG Heuer CARRERA line: resolutely chic or downright sporty, two themes that are inseparably linked to current watchmaking development. The obvious concern for esthetic details, illustrated by the hand-applied hour-markers and logo as well as the double glareproofing of the sapphire crystal and the polished hands, is matched by the finesse of the mechanical movement revealed through the transparent back.
The TAG Heuer CARRERA CALIBRE 1 VINTAGE undeniably provides a perfect setting in which to express the serene strength of a collection that has never betrayed its founding principle: prestige dedicated to performance.
TAG Heuer Grand Carrera Calibre 17 RS2 in Grade 2 Titanium
It’s a High Tech GT speed machine ready to tear up the tarmac. Sophisticated, powerful, unmistakably virile and technical, the GRAND CARRERA CALIBRE 17 RS2 is clearly cut out for racing tracks. Streamlined to order to win the race for precision, the chassis is made from Grade 2 Titanium (Ti2), a pure metal ultra resistant and bio-compatible. The matt black alligator strap with a “soft touch” coating, together with the smoothly dipping lugs, ensure optimal user-friendliness: this mechanical chronograph will cling to the wrist as surely as a GT coupé hugs the road. This competition-style bodywork has been given a black titanium carbide treatment further protecting the Ti2 case. The red color of the seconds hand, echoed on the crown, the stitching and the inside of the strap, sets the finishing touch to a design obviously heading for ultimate performance.
The engine is on a par with the exterior: a COSC-certified chronograph movement, equipped with the famous Rotating Systems that are the hallmark of the GRAND CARRERA collection. This revolutionary display mode enables intuitive reading of elapsed time, since the index remains fixed while the time indications rotate: small seconds at 3 o’clock and chronograph minute counter at 9 o’clock. From the Geneva stripes motif to the polished beveled finish of the Rotating Systems; and from the black-gold hand-applied hands, logo and hour-markers to the double sapphire crystal caseback revealing a “turbine” obviously powering this model towards the future, an impressive wealth of details further enhances the exclusive nature of this 1000 limited series.
Spearheading the GRAND CARRERA collection, this extreme version clearly destines the series for the finest accomplishments. Each to his own tastes: while the GRAND CARRERA Calibre 6 RS, on which the Rotating System is assigned to small seconds at 6 o’clock, is clearly intended for aesthetes in search of classic yet sporting elegance, globetrotters will find the GRAND CARRERA Calibre 8 RS GRAND DATE GMT simply irresistible. Finally, the GRAND CARRERA Calibre 17 RS chronograph, which was behind the RS2 version presented earlier, expresses a luxurious vision of sporting passion, illustrating with undeniable panache the fact that surpassing oneself does not necessarily involve smelling of engine oil. The GRAND CARRERA collection is clearly inspired by a single certainty: when passion and willpower unite, the determination to win acknowledges no limits. This explosive combination paves the way for all manner of achievements, as technology is placed in the service of raw emotions.
Within this context, records are sure to be broken, but in due style. Whether the smallest time difference ever recorded – 2/10,000th of a second between Mathias Ekström and Heikki Kovalainen (both TAG Heuer ambassadors!) in the Race of Champions 2006 - or the fabulous winning line-up of the 2007 FIA Formula 1 Championship, starring Kimi Raïkkönen, Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso – all brand ambassadors – motor racing provides TAG Heuer with the finest possible territory in which to highlight the merits of a range predestined for precision, dedicated to innovation and interpreted with inimitable elegance.